The Old Pine Tree
These Days

It has been the coolest summer I can remember (since before those oppressive Boston summers I suffered lived through.). It hasn’t been particularly cold, it just hasn’t been super hot. The middle of the day is hot, but the rest of the time is unreasonably pleasant. Day after day. Cooler temps is the trend this year and summer is the only season where it can be appreciated. We are being spoiled; these ocean breezes and sleep-easy nights.

I am obsessed with iced tea that is just a little bit sweet right now. I generally don’t add sweeteners to my drinks (heck I water down juice), but a little bit of honey or maple syrup in some black or green tea is really satisfying. I can’t get enough.

I have been observing the way my creativity flows and trying to learn from it. Turns out at the end of the day, after work and running and showering and dinner I don’t feel inspired. This is why I don’t write or play music at night. I’m noticing where I do feel inspired: by the river, at a busy cafe (with a seat where I won’t be disturbed), at the library with headphones on. Basically anywhere I can be reflective and retreat into my mind without disruption. In order to create I have to turn the world away. I think this has felt threatening to people in my life in the past. Maybe it is what makes creativity threatening. Now that I am learning about what inspires me, where, and when I can tap into that, I’m hoping to take advantage of it. I’m also trying to be less judgmental of myself and my creativity. Let it flow, right, whatever it may be? At the same time I don’t want to push it.  I wrote a song last summer that I have been working on. I just can’t seem to find the right second verse. Rather than settling on something that is easy but I don’t love, I’m just gonna keep trying until something fits that I can feel good about. What’s the rush?

I wish I could hold August off for a few more days. It looks like a big ol’ 18 wheeler headed my way. Nearly every weekend has something penciled in and there are a million things to do before September comes. I’m well aware of how fast a few weeks can go by. I’m prepared to just hang on for the ride. It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be - these are the words I’ve been living by lately.

My garden is a little behind; my fault for getting things in late. The deer have been a force that I think I’ve finally outdone. Things are coming along nicely now. I’m enjoying the little-at-a-time harvest this year, rather than bushels of food in one picking. It is much easier to manage. Thank goodness for that. and the little things.

I have tomorrow off (Fridays off in the summer are so darn decadent) and I get to spend this weekend with some of my best girl friends from different times in my life coming from various locations around the Northeast. I may not sleep tonight.

Here’s to noticing the kernel of sweetness in everything.

Two days at Acadia

More pictures soon.

Two days at Acadia

More pictures soon.

Three parts simple

When it’s 3pm on a weekday I often want a little something to get me to 5pm. Lately I’ve been grabbing bottles of Honest Tea (I like Lori’s Lemon and Green Dragon Tea with passion fruit). It occurred to me pretty quickly that because I already make sun tea, I should just make my own. So make my own I have.

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What you need:

  • Sun tea (sure, you can brew it, but there’s something so satisfying about letting the sun cook your water). I used black or jasmine green tea.
  • fresh lemon
  • honey

I have also been adding some chaga tea, because I had some brewed. It’s supposed to be good for you and it doesn’t affect the flavor. 

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I sometimes save my Honest Tea jars because they are glass and a useful size, and I re-use them to tote around my own iced tea (my water bottle is 40oz so that wouldn’t do). I fill the jar with tea, squeeze one fresh lemon slice in it, add about a tablespoon of honey, and shake it up. Sometimes I also add fresh mint leaves or lemon balm. 

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I received maple syrup and honey as a bridal shower favor this weekend and a friend said she puts it in her iced tea. I tried it and it was great. Try maple syrup some time instead of honey.

Today, by the sea
The feeling that I am lucky never goes away here.

Today, by the sea

The feeling that I am lucky never goes away here.

Natural SPFs
I came across the image above on the free people blog. At the bottom of the post they have a recipe for a homemade sunscreen.
This whole natural sunscreen thing is kind of mind-blowing to me. This morning I put some coconut oil on my legs because they felt a little dry and turns out I’m also getting sunscreen protection. Pretty awesome.

Natural SPFs

I came across the image above on the free people blog. At the bottom of the post they have a recipe for a homemade sunscreen.

This whole natural sunscreen thing is kind of mind-blowing to me. This morning I put some coconut oil on my legs because they felt a little dry and turns out I’m also getting sunscreen protection. Pretty awesome.

String beans for days

Two batches of string beans picked this week with more on the way. I grow string beans religiously every year to make dilly beans in the fall. Maybe this year I will finally make enough to give away. Maybe I’ll even do a giveaway!

This spring while I was shopping for seeds on Fedco I picked a variety that was supposed to be a big producer. So far so good. I am the queen of the beans.

In case you find string beans boring, my husk cherries have blossoms.

Mornings on the dock at camp

In other places they call it the cabin or the lake house, but it Maine we call it camp. 

Somewhere in the woods

This past weekend I was hiking in Acadia. Yesterday I was planning a trail run and I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. I thought they might feel heavy and stiff. I also hadn’t done any trail running in weeks. 

I was surprised to find that my legs were loose and every bit of it felt not only natural, but I felt like I was noticeably more comfortable on trails (single-track technical) than when I began in the spring. So I guess maybe hiking is a good warm up/shake-out/loosening of the legs. It couldn’t have come at a better time because my legs had been feeling really tight and I was having trouble breaking through it.

This winter I will be training for my next marathon and I plan on doing more cross training (swimming, biking). I’m also thinking about following the Hansons’ Way, although I’m not sure the higher mile runs midweek work for my schedule. I hate winter running so I’m looking for ways to make it work for me. And I’ve chosen a fast marathon (that couldn’t be more different than the last one I ran). I’ve only got a few goals so far: I don’t want to get injured, I want to enjoy myself, and I want to PR. For now I’m building my base and enjoying running and all those other great summertime outdoor activities.

Those pretty peas

And some bees in the squash blossoms giving me a helping hand this morning.

Those pretty peas

And some bees in the squash blossoms giving me a helping hand this morning.

Breakfast at the lake 
Espresso and a doughnut. 

Breakfast at the lake 

Espresso and a doughnut. 

Three Tides

These guys didn’t start out brewing beer (although we’re all glad they ended up brewing beer!), they started with a cocktail bar they named Three Tides. It has been one of the best editions to the town. While it’s still totally casual and laid back, it is one of the few places that has an upscale, nicer feeling to it. Us yuppies need our watering hole, too. 

First off, the space is pretty special. The night they were pouring their sea belt beer for the first time (which I was, unfortunately, unaware of) a friend and I sat out on the deck for dinner and some wine. They have a great sail cover over their outdoor seating with lamp shades and light bulbs strung up with thick rope around the edges. Outside it was rain and thunder and lightening but under the sail it was warm lighting and full tables exuding the giddiness of midsummer. There is some indoor seating as well, and an outdoor “beer garden” at ground level with a fire pit for those foggy summer days and cooler, flannel-necessary fall days.

The drink menu is complete. They’ve got a long list of (their) beers, a full cocktail menu, and enough wines to please everyone’s taste. A good drink menu and great outdoor seating go hand-in-hand.

I hadn’t eaten there in a while (years). People always talk about the mussels. If you’re in town and you want mussels, go to Three Tides. People also talk about their food portions being small. They weren’t large but they were definitely enough. And the food was good. really good. I had the crab quesadilla and it was stuffed with crab meat. When I asked for hot sauce I was presented with two local Maine-made options. My friend had their spinach and artichoke dip (which was served with crispy bruschetta-style slices of bred) and some sort of seafood bisque. Both were delicious. People used to complain about the prices being a little too high, but everyone else in town has inflated their prices lately (here’s look at YOU Darby’s) and in many places the quality has also gone down (*coughDarby’s), so I actually thought they were reasonable given the quality. My quesadilla was $10.50. 

Three Tides is a great way to experience a night on a harbor without falling into a tourist trap. Come see how we do it up here.

Oh ya, the owners are really nice, too.

When people come to town there are two places I can recommend without any reservations. Three Tides is one of them (Chase’s is the other). 

npr:

"Craft Beer Reaches New Depths As Mainers Brew A Batch From Seaweed" via Jay Field

Strange varieties of beer pack the shelves of most specialty grocery stores. Some brews are flavored with fruit or spices, while more peculiar selections include elements like yeast scraped from a 35 million-year-old whale bone. Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. –– already known for adding odd ingredients such as oysters or habanero peppers –– has crafted something new to most U.S. drinkers: seaweed beer

– Alexander

Images: Jay Field/MPBN

Holy crap. NPR caught on to these guys. Nice. (Also, just for the record, I covered this before NPR did).

Chase’s Daily 
The food here is so good and it is very consistent. The big open room is lovely, the atmosphere is great, and this time of year the back of their space is filling up with fresh, photograph-worthy produce grown on their farm. It’s one of the few places in town where you can get espresso; good, strong espresso. If you’re in the Midcoast area a visit to Chase’s is a must.

Chase’s Daily 

The food here is so good and it is very consistent. The big open room is lovely, the atmosphere is great, and this time of year the back of their space is filling up with fresh, photograph-worthy produce grown on their farm. It’s one of the few places in town where you can get espresso; good, strong espresso. If you’re in the Midcoast area a visit to Chase’s is a must.

Butternut Squash Fritters

My mom had a butternut squash for months* and never used it so I took it and wondered what it might taste like in fritters. I looked up recipes and found one that appealed to me. I didn’t actually follow any recipe, I just looked at the ingredient list. This is what I put in them:

  • grated butternut squash
  • grated cheddar cheese (YEP)
  • diced shallots
  • chopped fresh parsley (dried is ok too)
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • oil (you might use egg here instead)

Were they good? They were delicious. The first batch I made were a little too salty so I had them over fresh lettuce from the garden and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

*Winter vegetables are like that. And that’s kind of great. 

Things I love

I’m having a great summer. It’s not that anything particularly amazing is happening to me; I’m not travelling, not taking lots of days of work, not sleeping late, not winning the lottery; I’m just enjoying it, enjoying life. 

I love the hot, sticky, muggy days. It feels good to be so warm. It feels like not worrying about anything. It feels like contentment. I like the cool rainy days and gray mornings that make for good sleeping. They make it ok to slow down a little bit, to do less without feeling like you’re missing an opportunity.

I love the bright blue ocean and the immense amount of green around here. I love looking at miles of hills in the distance and seeing them covered in green and not interrupted by any human development. 

A friend and I were talking recently about how inspiring it is to be out in nature. I feel more inspired. It feels good to be inspired. I’m writing more and I love writing. 

I love that the garden doesn’t need much attention now and everything is growing, little by little. I forgot how amazing fresh food is (how could I forget?). So much of what we eat this time of year is fresh. It’s a luxury (but easily available, how grand). 

This might sound strange but I’m looking forward to the fall. I don’t want it to come any sooner than it has to, but fall is really beautiful and it’s such a rich time of year. I’m looking forward to that.

It is so quintessentially summer right now and that alone is bringing me a lot of joy. 

Gratitude is a beautiful thing. What do you love?